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Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

Me: You know, I feel like we haven’t talked much lately. Was it something I said?

Muse: No, no, nothing like that. It’s just…

Me: It’s ok, I’m listening.

Muse: Thanks, this is hard for me. I just haven’t been feeling like myself. I know you want to write and I’m trying to come up with fun ideas, but I keep getting distracted.

Me: Interesting. What’s catching your eye?

Muse: Pretty things. Colorful things. Bright, shiny, fun, sometimes practical but maybe not always Things. 

Me: So you mean…

Muse: Yes! Concrete, physical items like turned wooden bottle stoppers are fun, or if it’s digital, something colorful. And self-contained. Writing a few pages in a big story feels so small, you know?

Me: I do know. Is that why we’ve been playing with photo processing?

Muse: Yep. I love it when you bring my ideas to life. Not in months or (god forbid) years, but right f-ing now. Pardon my Fffrench.

Me: No worries, it’s my second language. 

Muse: Heh. But do you see?

Me: I think so. You’re saying we should either write faster or stop focusing on writing alone. Shake it up a little. Stretch. Experiment. Do more and don’t worry about genre boundaries or shoulds or “Seriously? That is a crazy idea!” and see what happens.

Muse: Yes!

Me: Ok, then. Let’s do that:)

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Photo by Alice Alinari on Unsplash

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Busy day today, and none of the three ideas I had for this post came together. Instead, have some fiction, this time read to you by Levar Burton. (You know, the Jeopardy host, and oh yes, Roots and Star Trek and Reading Rainbow and a few other things as well;)

His podcast is Levar Burton Reads, and he picks some of the best speculative short* fiction out there. So when you have a few minutes, sit back, listen, and relax.

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Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

* Shortish, anyway. Reading aloud always takes a bit of time, so a typical episode is about an hour.

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One of my favorite reads is the terrific* Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.  

Here’s the first book:

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) by Ilona Andrews

This husband and wife team also have a number of other great books, all starring kick-ass women willing to go to any lengths to save what needs saving.

The writing is excellent, the plots fresh and unpredictable in the best ways, and the characters, even the bad ones, are complex and well-drawn. (The authors are particularly adept at helping readers understand, and at times forgive, even the darkest characters.)

What’s not to love?

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So when I decided it was time to learn how to make a vintage-style travel postcard, I thought of Atlanta. Not the vibrant city it is now, but as Kate sees it after magic returns to the world, complete with mysterious denizens, vampire Casinos, witch jungles, shapeshifter Keeps, ruins and one lone high rise. 

Welcome to Atlanta.

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Original photos by Shashidhar SMorica PhamHidayat AbisenaMichael DenningCory GazailleToa HeftibaAustrian National Library & Christopher Alvarenga on Unsplash

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* Feel free to disagree with me, I don’t mind. Just know that I am right;)

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Have I mentioned that I have a museum? Its archives are mysterious and its vaults are deep.

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Shadows of multi-dimensional butterflies, visible only once every two-hundred thirty-four years. Faithfully recorded by Miss Kara Ellen Swanlea.

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As I’ve mentioned, I sometimes see the world a little sideways. It helps me find the fun in functional and the butterfly in the weeds. It also means that some days, a perfectly normal breakfast can turn into something a little more elaborate.

I mean, there I was this morning, producing multiple batches of colored liquid: bananas and tofu, spinach and avocado and green tea, blueberries and strawberries and cranberry juice, hemp seed and turmeric and more. It’s paint by any other name. And so, smoothie art.

Fun, right? And bonus points for edibility!

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Sunday flowers, for you!

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Editor’s Note: That isn’t a typo in the title. Well, it was a typo when I named the original file, but it was funny and my brain is mostly off at this point so I kept it.

I tried a new photo-to-oil-paint method today. The technique is straightforward, if time-consuming, but I can tell I’m not an actual painter. The arm and face are a little weird but my eyes have gone wonky and I’ve started thinking seriously about adult beverages, so this is what we’re going with today!

With apologies to whoever made the fine costume I blurred out, I give you “Portrait of a Mandalorian Primcess.”

She looks anything but prim.
Original Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash

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This is an entry from my book of beginnings. It’s fiction, but inspired by my grandmother (yes, the whippersnapper).

She was loving and kind and sweet. She also lived through an alcoholic father, abandonment, and the Great Depression, and was a lot tougher than she looked. She and my grandfather were enthusiastic travelers. The family story was that she kept a series of journals about their trips, starting with their honeymoon. In Cuba.

If I’d ever found those journals, it would not have surprised me if she was also a spy.

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Cuba 1937

I was 24 when my grandmother died, the same age she’d been when she got married. My father called to give me the sad news. She’d been sick, but she lived a full life. She was the neighborhood bridge and poker champion in her neighborhood circle for most of the half-century she lived there and she led the women’s golf game every year. The next day I went to the house, to help my father sort through her things.

She was my favorite grandmother, and not just because she was a fantastic baker. My brother and I would sit at her kitchen table, eating pound cake and cookies while she told us stories. That’s what I liked best, the stories. She and Grandpa were travelers, starting when they got married and only stopping months before their deaths. That’s what they lived for, and listening to Grandma talk about souks, the Amazon rainforest, the glaciers of Alaska and the mountains of Italy, I thought I knew why.

“She left you something.”

My father had opened the door in a T-shirt, dressed for what was sure to be a messy task. Sorting through the remnants of eight decades would take us a while. I followed him into the kitchen and poured myself a cup of tea. I stood at the table waiting for the hot liquid to cool, and wondered what minor treasure I might receive.

“You’re lucky. The box they were in was sealed up nice and tight.”

The bundle was solid, and heavy. I set it on the table and unwrapped the musty fabric covering.

“I didn’t know anyone used oilcloth anymore.”

“These go back a long time.”

Inside the oilcloth envelope was a stack of books. They were different sizes and shapes, starting with a school notebook and progressing to leather-bound hardcovers. Each one had a short title written on the cover in my grandmother’s elegant script.

Looking over my shoulder, my father smiled.

“She knew how much you enjoyed her stories, so she wanted you to have her travel journals. This should be every trip she took over more than fifty years.”

Treasure indeed. Realizing that the most recent accounts were on top, I re-stacked the journals to uncover the oldest, her first trip. The black and white cardboard cover was grayed with age and blank except for her name. The pages were stiff, and for a moment I was afraid that the paper had completely fused together. A little work at the edges, though, and I was able to gently open it to the first page. Yellow with age, the corners cracked but the ink was still dark and bold.

She’d put the title inside, as if unwilling to announce it on the book’s cover.

“Cuba,” it read, “1937.”

This was where it all began.

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Photo by Dorothea OLDANI on Unsplash

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It’s a holiday weekend, bookended by Canada Day and the Fourth of July. As a dual citizen, I feel obligated to celebrate as much as possible, which means I am trying to work as little as possible. Today, that means learning something fun. Like perspective bending, with sheep.

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Original photo by Hasan Almasi on Unsplash

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Lots to do today, so here’s a house-of-cards-building robot for you!

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I’m not quite done with my grandmother’s portrait, apparently. One of the things I did over the weekend was to start learning colorization, and now Grandma has a pretty pink dress:)

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